The Myth of the New and Only Idea 1

Dammit, I don’t get it: What is that makes people think that once a business idea has been developed as a business that then it’s over, nobody else can do it, and anybody who tries to is a lesser human?

You know what I’m talking about. Two or three people brainstorming about business and business ideas . . . one comes up with something he likes . . . and another one shoots it down with “nah, that’s already been done.” As if you can’t do it because somebody else already did.

I say, so what? Is there still a need? Has it been done right? Is that one existing company serving the entire market perfectly, so that nobody else can jump in? Apple wasn’t the first personal computer company, Federal Express wasn’t the first courier/delivery company, and Google wasn’t the first search engine. Microsoft wasn’t the first personal computer operating system. So?

For that matter, with completely new ideas that have never been done, don’t you have to worry, why not? What is the rest of the world thinking that hasn’t occurred to you yet?

Do you think there’s something unethical about doing something that’s a lot like something somebody else is already doing? Why? Pretending to be them, copying the package, trying to deceive people, masquerading as somebody else, that’s not great ethics . . . but just doing something very similar?

What do you think?

(Image credit: Loopall/Shutterstock)

About the Author Tim Berry is the founder and chairman of Palo Alto Software and Follow him on Twitter @Timberry. Follow Tim on Google+ Read more »

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  • Pingback: Não superestime ideias completamente originais | Saia do Lugar

  • Eric Williams

    Great post. So many would-be entrepreneurs DO think they need a unique idea, but so much value can be added by creating greater efficiency, delivering a slightly different set of benefits, having better / simpler systems, creating convenience, faster turn time, etc. On a related note, though, when I am selling a business it is not uncommon for prospective business buyers to say, “why would I pay a price that is significantly higher than the tangible assets of the business. It’s a simple business, I could just start a competing business and save some money.” What many of these would-be business owners underestimate is the significant time and innovation that typically goes into growing a business to a reasonable level – and, of course, it looks simple after an entrepreneur has, through trial and error, developed best practices. While there are definite benefits to starting a business from scratch, I encourage would-be business owners to consider buying an existing business that is already cash-flow positive and where some of the systems work very well, and then innovating to improve the business.